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RMS Cuts Through Some SCO FUD 877

Posted by timothy
from the scrupulous-thinking dept.
sckienle writes "ZD-Net has a commentary by Richard Stallman about the SCO case against IBM, kind of. It does provide some history on what the GNU organization did to protect itself from such lawsuits. Favorite quote: 'Less evident is the harm it does by inciting simplistic thinking: [Intellectual Property] lumps together diverse laws--copyright law, patent law, trademark law and others--which really have little in common.'"
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RMS Cuts Through Some SCO FUD

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  • by AltGrendel (175092) <ag-slashdot@@@exit0...us> on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @10:05AM (#6293356) Homepage
    He has an new and interesting take on the SCO cr@p too. It's here [pbs.org].
  • by Chris_Jefferson (581445) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @10:23AM (#6293510) Homepage
    Who's community is he talking about? "my" community is linux. I don't want to move to the *BSDs, or GNU/hurd. In fact nowadays I do almost all of my compiling on icc (intel's compiler).. hmm.. I wonder how close you could get to a working linux machine with nothing offically from GNU? Chris
  • by gandy909 (222251) <gandy909@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @10:24AM (#6293528) Homepage Journal
    ...but without all of the GNU software, the Linux kernel would be nothing...

    If RMS hadn't started done the GNU project way back when he did, we would still be working out zillions of bugs in things like ls, rm, mv, getty, etc., instead of having a full-fledged unix-like OS ready to go with the Linux kernel when it came into being.

    Sure, RMS may be somewhat of a wack-job at times, and I don't agree with him all the time either, but lets give credit where it's due. It was due to his vision and hard work that Linux was ABLE to take off and start flying high right away instead of floundering around in the muck for a long time.

  • by hobsonchoice (680456) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @10:26AM (#6293540)
    I actually thought the other SCO news today was more interesting: SCO may audit IBM AIX customers [vnunet.com].

    How do SCO want to use the discovery process> Darl said: "We get to really shake things up". I don't know what was in Darl's mind when he said that, but I assumed (I'm not a lawyer though!) that discovery was supposed to be about collecting evidence not shaking up IBM's customers. I'm also unclear (the sentence doesn't parse) what Darl means by using discovery as a "vehicle" - again I thought discovery was supposed to be about collecting evidence prior to the case, not used for some other purpose. Anybody care to comment??

    There are also some more Darl (longer quotes in more context) on the same subject here [computing.co.uk].
  • by pavon (30274) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @10:53AM (#6293745)
    Hmm, I don't know about you, but I'd have a good deal of trouble trying to make a kernal a compiler. Furthermore, the amount of time that all the command line utilites save is well worth the effort to write them - and they were immediatly usefull to people using BSD and semi-free UNIXes - alot more usefull then a bare kernal. I think that GNU/FSF had it's priorities very much in line.

    The reason that linux took off and HURD did not, was not at all due to the incomepence of the programmers, but is an interesting study in software engineering. In all the CS classes I have had they stressed how important is was to design everything first and then code - which is what the HURD team did. Linus's approach was different. He starting with something simple, and then improved it (call this iterative programming, agile programming, whatever - it's the same thing).

    It turns out that traditional software engineering doesn't scale very well, and that this iterative approach is actually more effecient. This seems strange - you would think that doing everything right from the beginning would be better then having to rewrite large portions of the code with each itteration, but that is assuming that it is actually possible to get the design correct on the first try - it isn't. Large software programs can be very complex and expecting to be able to design something as big as an OS on the first shot is like expecting Henry Ford to design a car like we have today on his first shot. He didn't, and the cars we have today are the result of decades of design iterations. We shouldn't expect software to be any different.

    In addition, Linus was the first to stumble upon the benifits of distributed open source development - which go hand-in-hand with iterative programming because other programmers rarely get interested in an open source program until you have something working - which linux did and the HURD did not.

    But the HURD team had no way of knowing about that, and you can't blame them for writing software using the best methods that anyone knew at the time.

    P.S.
    People always raise the point of the HURD being a micro kernal vs linux being a modular monolithic kernal, but I think that had little effect on slowing the development compared to these other two issues.
  • by Chops (168851) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @11:41AM (#6294207)
    Stallman talks like he had this fully functional operating system without a kernel. If by this he means he had some text editors and stuff, sure.

    Text editors, command shells, compiler, linker, debugger, C library, standard Unix tools (grep/awk/diff/etc.), gtk, desktop environment (Gnome)... short of X and the kernel, pretty much everything in a modern "Linux" distribution that I at least consider to be part of the OS comes from GNU. Check the man pages for 'printf', 'tar', and such.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @11:46AM (#6294256)
    Ok, this post is funny enough to be repeated (hell, it's hillarious), but if you're going to rip it off [slashdot.org], at least don't be a Karma Whore (AC).
  • by Eunuchswear (210685) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @12:05PM (#6294412) Journal
    But, as usual he gets important details wrong:
    Think about it. Ashton-Tate's claim on dBase was, in many ways, similar to SCO's current claim on derivative UNIX works. They both ignored upstream property rights of others. What is ironic about this is that Fox Software wasn't the only company sued by Ashton-Tate for this supposed copyright violation. Fox's co-defendant was SCO. And having been on the other side of such a similar case, they should know better.
    Yes, SCO was Fox's co-defendant. But it isn't SCO that's suing IBM, it's "The SCO Group", who are not the same people at all. There is no "they" there.
  • by daniel23 (605413) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @12:06PM (#6294423)
    LinuxTag, who sent a cease and desist letter to SCO now have a written confirmation by Sco in which Sco declares the will not again say that Linux Operating Systems would contain unlawful obtained Intellectual property of sco unix.
    Sco Group will not say again that Linux end users could be held liable for using Linux, had to fear legal consequences nor will they repeat that Linux is an unauthorized derivate of Unix.
    There is a fine of 10.000 EUR if SCO fails to comply with that written confirmation.



    More details (in German):
    heise.de [heise.de]

  • by ajs (35943) <ajs&ajs,com> on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @12:11PM (#6294458) Homepage Journal
    In the earliest days of Linux, when I or anyone else would install a complete system (such as complete was defined back then), we would call it "Linux". Then, one day someone came along and created a "distribution" and called it "Slackware Linux"... ok, that was fine. They had re-branded and everyone was OK with it.

    Then came the CD distributions like Red Hat Linux, SuSE Linux and Debian Linux.

    Sometime after that Stallman started his rant. Sometime after that Debian caved and called their Linux "GNU/Linux"... thus was the start of the mess.

    You're arguing that the system that we all called "Linux" for years wasn't REALLY Linux, we were just confused. I submit to you that you are the benificiary of our "confusion" and that those living in Pyrex houses should not tell Dow Chemical how to name Silcates.
  • by dark-br (473115) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @12:27PM (#6294592) Homepage


    And if you want to be realy "informative" quote the right source [livejournal.com].

  • by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @01:36PM (#6295102) Homepage Journal

    as SCO's legal bills get higher and higher

    Minor correction:

    TSG (The SCO Group, to distinguish them from the Santa Cruz Operation) doesn't have any legal bills related to this case. Boies & company have taken it on contingency.

  • by GeoGreg (631708) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @01:36PM (#6295103)
    I've seen such an estimate before, but can't recall now what the number actually is, and a quick search of the FSF website doesn't have it. But, they do have a list of all GNU projects here [gnu.org]. Some favorites include:
    • GCC
    • Ghostscript
    • glibc
    • GNU Emacs
    • AbiWord
    • BASH
    • most of the Unix-like command line tools (make, tar, ls, etc.)
    • CVS
    • GIMP
    • GNOME

    So, most of the "basic" OS, as well as several important applications, are part of GNU. Whether you want to call such an OS GNU/Linux is up to you, but RMS is right when he says that without GNU, there would certainly not be such an operating system based on the Linux kernel available today.

  • by Chops (168851) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @01:45PM (#6295201)
    Yah -- certainly it's possible to make an OS without GNU. The argument isn't that "Linux" distributions somehow must be based mostly on GNU, just that they are.
  • And weirdly (Score:4, Informative)

    by autopr0n (534291) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @01:56PM (#6295310) Homepage Journal
    He claimed GNU was the "operating system" and that Linux was just the "Kernel". I find this a little specious. Syscalls and other OS level stuff are all pure Linux and don't have much to do with the GPL. GNU is more like the "Operating environment" used with Linux. Just like Finder on the Mac, and explorer, IE, etc on windows.

    That said though, there are a lot of other technologies that make up the Linux "environment" so it's kind of silly that GNU should get top billing.
  • by hobsonchoice (680456) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @02:51PM (#6295903)
    Getting the stock price up has no effect on SCO's day to day operations, nor on the execs except when they sell the stock.

    1. The execs have been execs have been selling stock

    2. Canopy could be offloading stock, I don't know.

    3. SCO may have been scared of eventually getting delisted from NASDAQ before all this started.

    4. If SCO need money, they may try and issue more stock. This would presumably dilutes the existing stockholders, but it might help fund SCO's legal expenses. However, if the stock price is in the toilet, a new stock issue would be much harder to do, and require much more dilution.

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